British Columbia

26 Vancouver pot shops slapped with tickets for operating illegally

City of Vancouver bylaw officers handed out 44 tickets to pot shops still operating days after the deadline for closing them passed.

Marijuana dispensaries each fined $250 for operating without business licence

Vancouver businesses that are operating without a license — including marijuana dispensares — will now be fined $1000 by the city. (Brenna Rose/CBC)

The City of Vancouver says its bylaw officers have handed out tickets to 26 pot shops for operating illegally.

In October 2015, the city gave 140 marijuana dispensaries a deadline of April 29, 2016 to relocate or shut their doors for not meeting licensing criteria, like being too close to a school.

The city said bylaw officers started enforcing that deadline Saturday by giving each of 23 pot shops a $250 fine for remaining open, according to a press release. 

Andreea Toma, chief licence inspector for the city, said another three locations were earlier given tickets for opening illegally after the city stopped accepting business licence applications for marijuana dispensaries last August.

The city says it has issued a total 44 violations. So far, 22 dispensaries have closed.

Toma pointed out stores who remain defiant risk being fined $250 for every day they remain open and could be taken to court.

"We are moving forward with prosecutions and injunctions," she said. "We are serious about this."

The city's reinforced enforcement efforts are expected to continue this week. The city says it will also be gathering information needed for legal action.

With files from Brenna Rose